Howard doubled in his first at-bat and was 2 for 4 in his first game since rupturing his left Achilles tendon on the final swing in a post-season elimination loss to St. Louis last October.
But even with their regulars together for the first time, the struggling Phillies generated nothing on offence. The five-time defending NL East champions are a season-worst 11 games under .500.
Hudson (7-4) nearly went pitch-for-pitch with Kyle Kendrick, who also threw seven scoreless innings and allowed four hits. Kendrick had five strikeouts; Hudson had none.
Antonio Bastardo (2-3) replaced Kendrick to start the eighth and immediately ran into trouble.
ROCKIES 5, NATIONALS 1
WASHINGTON (AP) — Tyler Colvin homered twice off Stephen Strasburg to back a masterful pitching performance by Drew Pomeranz and lead Colorado past Washington, ending the Nationals' four-game winning streak.
Colvin hit a solo shot in the second inning and a two-run drive in the fourth to become the first player to hit two home runs against Strasburg in the same game.
Strasburg (9-4) allowed three runs, two earned, and eight hits in six innings. The All-Star struck out six and walked one, but lost a third straight start for the first time in his three-year career.
Pomeranz (1-3) gave up only one hit over 6 1-3 scoreless innings — a bloop to centre by Bryce Harper in the fourth.
CUBS 8, METS 7
NEW YORK (AP) — Anthony Rizzo hit a three-run homer and Cubs closer Carlos Marmol caught a line drive and started a game-ending double play that blunted the Mets' bid for another ninth-inning comeback.
Travis Wood (4-3) won his fourth straight start while Mets star Johan Santana (6-5) was tagged for a career high-tying 13 hits in only 4 2-3 innings.
A night after they got two runs with two outs in the ninth to beat Philadelphia closer Jonathan Papelbon, the Mets scored three times off a wild Marmol.
But with runners at first and second, Lucas Duda hit a liner up the middle that Marmol speared and flipped to first for the final out.
GIANTS 6, PIRATES 5
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Melky Cabrera hit his eighth homer of the season, Ryan Theriot drove in two runs and San Francisco beat the Pirates.
Barry Zito (7-6) survived five eventful innings to win for the second time in his last six starts as the Giants snapped a three-game losing streak.
Andrew McCutchen had three hits to raise his batting average to a National League-leading .360. Pedro Alvarez and Casey McGehee added solo homers, but couldn't stop Pittsburgh from having its four-game winning streak snapped.
Erik Bedard (4-10) of Navan, Ont., endured another short outing, failing to get through the fourth inning.
BREWERS 7, ASTROS 1
HOUSTON (AP) — Norichika Aoki and Ryan Braun hit consecutive homers in the first inning and Rickie Weeks later hit a two-run shot, leading Yovani Gallardo and the Brewers over the slumping Astros.
The Astros lost their season-worst ninth game in a row.
Gallardo (7-6) beat Houston for the eighth straight start, allowing one run and four hits in six innings.
J.A. Happ (6-9) allowed nine hits — including a season-high three homers — and seven runs in 6 1-3 innings.
MARLINS 3, CARDINALS 2
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Ricky Nolasco allowed an unearned run in six innings and Jose Reyes got the go-ahead RBI with an infield hit in the seventh, leading Miami to a victory over the Cardinals.
Logan Morrison added his second home run in three games in the eighth for the Marlins, who won their third in a row and beat the Cardinals for just the second time in the last 10 meetings. St. Louis was 2 for 16 with runners in scoring position, stranding five at third base to frustrate a sellout crowd that waited patiently in a game that began in 103-degree heat.
Jake Westbrook (7-7) allowed two runs, one earned, in 6 2-3 innings. He had the Cardinals' third error with a wild throw on Reyes' soft tapper not far from the plate.
Nolasco (8-6) gave up nine hits but got the big outs when it counted against the Cardinals, holding them to 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position.
REDS 6, PADRES 0
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Bronson Arroyo pitched a three-hitter, and Ryan Hanigan, Todd Frazier and Zack Cozart homered for Cincinnati Reds in a win over the Padres.
Arroyo (4-5) threw his first complete game of the season. He retired 14 of the final 15 batters for the Reds' fifth shutout, but the first solo effort by a starting pitcher.
Arroyo allowed singles to rookie Yasmani Grandal, Will Venable and Chase Headley while striking out eight and walking one.
San Diego, which had its season-high six-game win streak snapped, had only one runner reach second base.
After a leadoff walk to Todd Frazier in the seventh, Hanigan hit a two-run homer off Kip Wells (1-2) that barely made it into the front row in the left field stands.
DIAMONDBACKS 5, DODGERS 3
PHOENIX (AP) — Justin Upton broke out of a 3-for-19 slump with a key two-run triple and the Diamondbacks rallied to beat the Dodgers and snap a six-game losing streak.
Josh Collmenter (1-2) scattered six hits over six innings for the Diamondbacks. He struck out six and walked two.
J.J. Putz pitched the ninth for his 15th save.
Adam Kennedy hit his first home run in nearly a year for the Dodgers, who had won three straight.
Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw (6-5) allowed one hit through five innings but ended up yielding five runs on five hits over 5 1-3 innings.